Chris Joris: Songs For Mbizo (2002)
Belgian pianist/percussionist Chris Joris recorded these sessions with tubaist Bob Stewart and South African bassist Johnny (Mbizo) Dyani back in 1976. Sadly, Dyani passed away in 1988, while additional tracks emanating from 1991 sessions featuring Stewart and a conglomerate of European artists round out this effort.
Joris' knowledge and implementations of wide ranging rhythmic structures come to fruition on this gem of a release. Throughout these pieces, Joris performs on berimbau (including a lovely duet with Stewart), various percussion instruments, ethnocentric flutes, and piano. As a pianist the artist generally hits the right notes, or sweet spots via harmonically rich block chords and Bill Evans-ish right hand leads. However, his shrewd arrangements and clever integrations of sonorous horn parts with world groove percussion romps provide many of the highlights. The piece titled 'Dance of the Mulatos,' features Steve Houben's enchanting flute work coupled with the septet's budding undercurrents and breezy arrangements. Many of these works boast world beat rhythms of various flavors and colors, whereas Joris' compositions generally contain memorably melodic choruses amid a few stirring ballads and rousing opuses. Joris isn't that well known here in the states but has been garnering percussion-based awards over in Europe while fronting various ensembles. To a certain extent, Joris was ahead of his time and now's your chance to find out why. Passionately recommended.
Track Listing: 1.The White Side Of Black 2.Rivers 3.Lullaby For Ephraim 4.Panontigri (part 1: morning part 2: invitation part 3: village dance) 5.Song for Mbizo ? part one 6.Blowin? Your Bow To the Berimbob 7.Shaya Sebothane 8.Berimbau 9.Dance Of the Mulatos 10.Monody In A Moonlit Night 11.Song For Mbizo ? part 2 12. November 30th
Personnel: Chris Joris: piano & percussion ? Bob Stewart: tuba ? Johnny Dyani: bass ? Steve Houben: flute ? Frank Vaganee: alto sax ? John Ruocco: tenor sax ? Frans Van Der Hoeven: bass ? Dre? Pallemaerts: drums ? David Linx: vocals ? Michel Mast: tenor sax ? Julian Sebothane Bahula: percussion ? Cheikh Tidiane Fall: percussion, voice ? David Lee Schloss: tenor sax ? Christoph Erbstosser: piano